Local author will discuss role of citizen activism on environmental protection
Author and longtime central Wisconsin resident Bill Berry will present a public discussion on the historic role of citizen activism in protecting Wisconsin’s environment at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at the Lettie Jensen Center in Amherst.
The program, presented by Tomorrow River Chautauqua, is free and open to the public, and will focus on Berry’s personal reflections on the roots of citizen activism in Wisconsin as well as the need for engagement in current environmental issues.
One of many stories he will focus on is the subject of his most recent book “Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin Led the Way” published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in 2014.
The book is an account of how citizens, prescient scientists, sportsmen and leaders of both political parties forged a coalition that documented the harmful effects of the chemical, and through legal action, brought about a ban on its indiscriminate use.
The result was that fish, birds and other threatened species bounced back from decimated populations and dangerous toxicity levels, and Wisconsin became an important leader in the nationwide impetus for environmental protection.
“Banning DDT” was the culmination of six years of research and serves as a template of how action across a broad spectrum of interests is possible.
The Tomorrow River presentation will also highlight the work and lives of several other activists, including some from northcentral Wisconsin, and a discussion of current environmental issues as well as questions from the audience. Copies of “Banning DDT” will be available after the presentation for purchase and signing.
Berry grew up in Green Bay and earned undergraduate degrees at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. For more than 20 years, he worked as a reporter, columnist and editor for several newspapers, including The Portage County Gazette and the Stevens Point Journal.
For the past two decades, he has communicated about conservation and agriculture at the state and national level. This work has taken him across the United States to learn and communicate about private lands conservation in America. He is also currently a columnist for the Capital Times of Madison.
Previous books include “The Future of Farming and Rural Life in Wisconsin: Findings, Recommendations, Steps to a Healthy Future,” a 2007 book that was the culmination of a three-year Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters study.
Berry lives in Stevens Point with his wife, Nick Schultz, whose gardening column, “The Perpetual Gardener,” appears in the Portage County Gazette.